The one thing we do not have a shortage of in the area is salons. As to why one person goes to one salon over another is usually because they get hooked on a stylist and stay. One bad cut or color can send the most open and happy woman into a fit of sobbing, wine guzzling and throwing glassware. I have long hair, and at this point of my life I have thrown too much glassware and no longer trust my hair to just anybody. My most recent cut and color at Bangz Salon and Spa, done by my fabulous stylist Cory Marc, has made me a silly vain woman. Admiring my own hair in the mirror like a storybook princess. The man is a hair genius.
Having fantastic stylists and being the only full service salon and spa in Montclair as well as a fantastic location to have events are just a few reasons Bangz is one of my favorite places. I also love it for the setting.
The building was designed as a Baptist Church by architect Joseph Ireland in 1889 adjacent to a Crane family house at South Fullerton Avenue. Ireland lived through the Great Fire in Chicago in 1871 and was very safety/fire conscious when designing community buildings.
Twenty years later the building was taken over by the Masons. The old masonic hall was at the Munn Hotel (Bloomfield Avenue & Valley Road) and among the founders were the most important original families in town, the Cranes, the Doremus, Van Geisons and the Howes.
The Bangz building is a rare example of the type of American “Illuminist” architecture, that attempted to capture the spirit of the “Dawning of the New World”, and also because it is achieved in “Crane” brownstone that originates from Montclair and Glen Ridge. It is interesting to note that many of the members of the local secret benevolent societies were abolitionists and there are several “safe house” locations in town that are still kept secret.
Bangz co-owner Richard Cronk first started Jaclyn’s Salon on Church Street, now the home of Raymond’s, in 1982. He then opened Bangz Salon in 1994 at the corner of Church St. and Bloomfield Ave. (now the home of Anthropologie). As a life long member of the masons, when Richard heard the Lodge was going to move to Caldwell to consolidate, he and co-owner Dominick Sansevero bought the building.
The renovation process began in 2006. They managed to stay within the original foot-print of the building and converted the space from 4000 square feet to 10,000 by adding two loft spaces and digging out the basement to use as the spa location. They did take down an addition of the building from the back. The brick was then recycled to create the walls in the spa to match the original brick. Richard stripped and restored much of the wood work himself. Many of the stained glass windows were broken and in disrepair so they were sent out and restored.
Other than gorgeous bamboo floors, rich woodwork, original stained glass doors and radiant heat on the floor of the downstairs spa, there are the very impressive front doors and railings. Designed by local artist/blacksmith Charlie Spademan, the railings represent the organic change from the old to the new through growth. The railings start out with small tendrils of growth at the base of the stairs to completely organic branches gripping the building at the top. The doors represent growth for a business with deep roots in the community. I love the added whimsical touch of scissors in the tree branches. The doors and railings are a bit of fantastic modern nouveau artwork in our community.
Now for the good juicy tid-bits about Bangz — other than history. Like who is that hunky bald guy running around the salon and why am I devoted to Cory Marc (even though I cheated on him with King-of-the Blow-outs Pete). That is general manager Israel Cronk and if you have any problem with anything at the salon ask for this lovely man and he will take care of you.
I cannot sit in the chair and make small talk with my stylist if we have nothing to say, this is not the main reason I trust Cory with my tresses but the fact that he listens to me, does not get experimental with my hair but just does a fantastic job. He is talented, smart, has a great sense of humor ( he laughs at my stupid jokes) and does not gossip. I always leave the salon looking good and with laughter in my eyes (proven to make you look 10 years younger).
So what does every mom, at least every mom I know, want for Mother’s Day? Time to relax in a quiet, tranquil re-energizing setting? Walk out of the elevator into the spa and the sign reads “Please no cell phones or children beyond this point” I love that sign. The spa is a change of pace from the bustling salon upstairs. With beautiful tile, brick and stone walls as well as a water wall running through the spa- it is heaven on earth.
Walk to the women’s or men’s changing rooms, place your belonging into a locker, put on a nice fluffy robe, flip flops and walk to the soft, pillowed waiting room where there is a lovely spread of coffee, tea, water, granola, dried fruit and bagels. Click here for a full list of services. If the list is too overwhelming please call the wonderful spa manager Courtney, and she will help you decide which services best fit your needs. If you want to know my favorites, Catherine is an amazing massage therapist, Grace is super fun nail technician and Christie is a wonderful make-up artist. A gift card for spa services are always a welcome treat and Bangz has loads to choose from. You can even include the gratuity on the card so the gift is truly just that.
Click here for the Mother’s day specials such as “Queen for a Day” including a 50 minute well massage, shampoo and blow out, b-well manicure, and makeup-application for $176!
No need to worry about wrapping those gift cards as they will put it in a lovely bag all decked out and ready to impress me….I mean the special mom in your life.
Check out the slide show see more of the the spa or click here for a peek inside the salon.
Special thanks to my friend Frank Gerard Godlewski for all of the historical bits.